In1 his younger years, R’ Mendel Futerfas was involved in business together with several other partners, and he did very well. There was just one thing that set him apart from his fellow business partners, and that was from all of the money he earned he would give everything that he didn’t need away to tzedaka for Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim. As a result of this practice, when it came time to investing in the next business venture, he first needed to raise the necessary funds for the investment and later, after the profits were made, he would pay his debts, deduct what he needed for himself and the rest he would give entirely to the Rebbe Rashab’s Yeshiva. Try as they might, his partners could not convince R’ Mendel to keep at least some of the money for the next deal. Once, R’ Mendel’s business partners told him, “This time we will give you your part of the profit in gold coins, and when we will invest in the coming deal you will sell the gold coins and invest the money with us.” This they did and R’ Mendel hid the gold coins in a pit that he dug in the yard (as it was illegal in Russia to posses gold coins). When the next opportunity to invest arrived, to their great surprise R’ Mendel needed to borrow money for the investment . When they asked him what had happened to the gold coins, he responded, “The evening after I hid the gold coins, I could not sleep. I thought to myself, ‘The yeshiva boys are hungry, and I’m holding gold coins? The very next day I dug up the coins, sold them, and gave the money to the Yeshiva.” Often people will rightfully claim that that they don’t have any money for tzedaka because they need the money for investments in order to earn a livelihood and be able to give lots of tzedaka. Sometimes this is an on going excuse, that the person is always in need of their liquid money for planned investments. This is hard to disprove on a basic level, but on a deeper level it can be a sign of where one’s focus is. Every person has a responsibility to support their family along with the obligation to give tzedaka; the question is which one has primary importance. Quite often we rightfully give attention to the parnoso aspect. What’s unfortunate is, when it’s, at the expense of what Hashem wants from us. There are individuals, like R’ Mendel Futerfas, who kept focused on the main priority, which is to give tzedaka, lots of tzedaka, like Hashem wants. Simultaneously there was a tacit bitachon in Hashem that he will receive all the parnoso he needs, and by doing the mitzva of tzedaka he certainly won’t lose out. Additionally, R’ Mendel fulfilled the explanation in chassidus on ‘mishpot utzedaka’. Chassidus explains that when one earns money they must first make a strict judgement of what they need (not want), and the rest to distribute to tzedaka. This is not so easy, as occasionally the ‘need’ column grows into things that are not real needs, thus causing a decrease in the amount of tzedaka being given. R’ Mendel judged himself strictly, and distributed the rest to tzedaka. He serves as real example for us on how to make Hashem and His mitzvos, especially the mitzva of tzedaka, our primary priority.

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